What if we tested for influenza like we do Covid? A hypothetical exploration of the data

It’s a hypothetical that is worth exploring. If we tested the same amount of individuals as we have for Covid – how many influenza “cases” would there be? In this article, we will use the weekly epidemiological reports from the 2019 flu season and 2020 to illustrate what the case numbers would look like.

It’s a question worth asking when 40-50% of all Covid cases have no symptoms at all according to an Icelandic study.

Also, we recently covered a study from Wuhan, China where they studied roughly 10 million residents and only found approximately 300 asymptomatic individuals – none of which turned out to be infectious. So with this in mind, we will ask the question – what if we tested at the same rate for influenza as we do for Covid and amplified the numbers based on that testing? Obviously, numbers would fluctuate and this is a complete hypothetical – but it’s worth exploring to illustrate a point.

Canada has tested roughly 334,000 people per million for a total of approximately 13 million total tests to date according to statista.com. For the sake of this article, we will examine weeks 13-15 from the 2019 and 2020 Influenza season and multiply the numbers based on the percentage of positive tests from each week. We will then divide the total number of cases by 2 to get 50% of the people who would’ve experienced no symptoms – just like with Covid-19.

We’ve chosen weeks 13-15 as this is the beginning of the peak of the “pandemic” in Canada.

We will use our article “Where’d the Flu go? — 2020 the year influenza almost disappeared” where we used the weekly epidemiological reports from FluWatch as our source. All of the data in this article is available on Canada.ca under FluWatch reports. Our testing has fluctuated with roughly 40-60 thousand tests done weekly as of late – for the sake of this article we will use 50,000 tests per week as our benchmark.

Keep in mind for some unknown reason – positive tests as a percentage of total tests in 2020 dropped to astronomically low numbers compared to previous years before testing and all but halted later in the season (very little testing occurring now). Some chalk this up to good practices that have stopped the spread of the flu – but both Covid and Influenza are spread via respiratory droplets so this explanation falls short in my opinion. Shouldn’t the spread of Covid have also slowed down in addition to influenza if the measures are working?


Comparison

Formula – 50,000 tests x percentage of positives for that week divided by 2 for a total number of “asymptomatic” or cases with no symptoms. 

Per day average – total number of positive tests divided by 7

Week 13 (2019) – 22% of all tests done were positive.

Total positive cases at a 22% rate: 11,000 positive influenza tests.

Asymptomatic or healthy “cases” – 5500

Cases per day average – 1571 positive tests per day

Week 13 (2020) – 1.3% of all tests done were positive.

Total positive at 1.3% rate: 650 positive influenza tests.

Asymptomatic or healthy “cases” – 325

Cases per day average – 93 cases per day.


Week 14 (2019) – 19% of all tests done were positive.

Total positive at a 19% rate: 9500 positive influenza tests.

Asymptomatic or healthy “cases” – 4750

Cases per day average – 1357 cases per day.

Week 14 (2020) – 0.4% of all tests done we positive.

Total positive cases at a 0.4% rate: 200 positive influenza tests.

Asymptomatic of healthy “cases” – 100

Cases per day average – 29 cases per day.


Week 15 (2019) – 20% of all tests done we positive.

Total positive at 20% rate: 10,000 positive influenza tests.

Asymptomatic of healthy “cases” – 5000

Cases per day average – 1429 cases per day.

Week 15 (2020) – 0.1% of all tests done were positive – a 19.9% drop-off from the previous year.

Total positive at 0.1% rate: 50 positive influenza tests.

Asymptomatic of healthy “cases” – 25

Cases per day average – 7 cases per day.


If you factor in the number of asymptomatic cases even the previous statement comes into question – is it that much worse compared to previous years? Canadians also conveniently forget that healthcare has long been an issue. Remember when Premier Ford ran on ending hallway medicine as a cornerstone of his campaign?

Article: ‘We’re doing everything we can’ to end hallway medicine, says Premier Doug Ford

In fact it hasn’t been unusual for Canadian hospitals to run over 100% capacity! The article below written by the CBC on Jan.22, 2020 shows that many hospitals were already over capacity before the “pandemic” came to Canada!

Here is a quote from the article “Overcrowding has become so common in Ontario hospitals that patient beds are now placed in hallways and conference rooms not only at times of peak demand, but routinely day after day, research by CBC News reveals. “

Article: Some of Ontario’s biggest hospitals are filled beyond capacity nearly every day, new data reveals

The article continued;

“CBC News analyzed data for all 169 acute care hospital sites in the province during this six-month time frame. Some of the key findings: 

  • 83 hospitals were beyond 100 per cent capacity for more than 30 days.
  • 39 hospitals hit 120 per cent capacity or higher for at least one day.
  • 40 hospitals averaged 100 per cent capacity or higher.

An expert on hospital administration calls the figures “astonishing” and says they demonstrate that overcrowding is now a widespread phenomenon around Ontario.”

The lock everything down approach also fails to calculate the long-term costs of shutting down the economy and the effects that will have on the country going forward. With fewer jobs and more people competing for those jobs will mean lower wages – which means lower standards of living. Fewer jobs also result in less taxable income which could also lead to cuts in public services like healthcare, fire, police, water etc – which would only exasperate the problem.

We can’t expect to flip the economy back on like a light switch and for everything to return to normal. We must discuss our approach and consider more than today – we must consider our future as well.

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Published by Greg Staley

Greg Staley is a husband, and a father to 3 beautiful girls. He is a concerned citizen who is closely watching his government's actions through critical thinking, and assessment of all qualified and relevant data. He believes in going to the Primary sources of data at all times if possible.